Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Paradigm Change—Food for Thought

I recently received this link to a YouTube video from a New York City principal I worked with over the last couple years. I found it most interesting and engaging, and thought you might too. It's called Changing Education Paradigms by Ken Robinson. It's twelve minutes long and cuts off at the end. If we're successful finding the entire presentation, I'll be sure to send it along. Certainly, there's much food for thought.


  1. I watched the Ken Robinson video and would have loved to hear the conclusion! I think a lot of what he says is smart and right on. I also wonder about "raising standards" - as a first grade teacher sometimes I feel that a lot of what we are supposed to require of students is developmentally inappropriate. I think that in this intensely stimulating time that students live in, they experience undue pressure at a tender age. I think we need to let kids be kids and work to keep them playful and excited. They'll have the opportunity to feel plenty of pressure soon enough.

  2. i couldn't agree more that many of the things we're asking of our young children are developmentally inappropriate. did you get a chance to read today's post (feb. 5) and the linked Finland article?

  3. I just read the post and the article...I so agree. The remark about how Finland has decided not to move along with the standardization movement because "such tests would consume too much instructional time, cost too much to construct, proctor, and grade, and generate undue stress" really stood out for me, especially the generating undue stress part. I don't think we play, or give the children time to play, nearly enough in school anymore. I think if we play more and lighten up a bit, children might be more willing to think divergently and outside the box, like your photographer did and Ken Robinson discusses.

    Along with that, the lives of children outside of school often also have every moment structured. I walked our dog in my neighborhood on a recent snow day. No one was outside - no sledding on a little slope that would be perfect for pre-schoolers/kindergartners, no snowmen, no footprints except for my dog's and mine. Made me feel sad for the neighborhood.

  4. I hear you and agree...i'm sad too. play is so important part to children's cognitive development. those who make these decisions need to revisit piaget and bruner...

  5. Hi, Sharon and Linda-If you would like to hear Sir Ken Robertson's entire speech on Changing Paradigms I would suggest you go to the link to http://www.thersa.org/events/vision/archive/sir-ken-robinson
    He does have a lot say about the impact our changing society has had on both funding and informing educational policy...as well as other important and related issues.
    Warning: Be prepared! There are several other thought provoking 'animations' on this website...So, if you are not careful, they can eat up a lot of your time watching them.
    Love this blog. Thank you, Sharon!

  6. sorry for the delayed response. i've been working in seattle and portland. i look forward to hearing robertson's speech when i get back to the east coast. thanks for locating it and sending along.